Discussion of 2008 Profiles/Results

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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quizivex
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Discussion of 2008 Profiles/Results

Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:13 am

This board is for discussion of the 2008 Physics Applicant Profiles & Admission Results thread:

Feel free to say anything relevant or irrelevant here (corny jokes and debates are welcome)... we're just trying to keep extraneous comments off the main profile page.

Thanks :mrgreen:

Edit/Update: For future reference, note that a lot of the discussion of acceptances and other stuff such as financial packages, open houses, and the arrival of admissionprof occurred on the much larger Fall 2008 Acceptances thread.

Also, some posts that were originally on the Fall 2008 Acceptances thread were condemned to the lounge and put in a separate thread due to controversies: Off-Topic Ramblings From the Fall 2008 Acceptances Thread. Some of these posts are worth looking at since they contain some insightful discussion and fill in the confusing holes left by the missing posts in the original thread.
Last edited by quizivex on Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:30 am

Perhaps make the headings in bold in your original post so they are easier to read, and we can make updates in bold RED?

Also I added a section for publications/conferences

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:32 am

Thanks for getting it started, grae313.... your idea sounds good... I wanted to do that but how do I make it that when a person copy/pastes it keeps the boldness?

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:33 am

hmmm... it doesn't copy the html tags? shoots!!!

nevermind then

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:06 am

OK I think I made the tempelate more presentable. Anyone have any other suggestions to improve it?

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:30 am

thanks quizivex! that's exactly what the forum needed.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:46 am

@ nvanmeter. sure no prob... and btw I'll check out that solid state book

Damn, you have a heck of a profile, I think you'll run the table with acceptances... though there are sometimes fewer spots in theory so I dunno.

All that in 4 years, and you had time to pick up girls and watch football, congrats in advance!

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:01 am

Yeah nvanmeter, you look pretty darn good on paper.
I was wondering how you were able to pull off 1 year of research in math, 3 yrs in physics + summer REU's, when you have only been in university for a tad under 3.5 years (I assume you started in aug or sept 2004)?

Great idea on the profile and admissions thread and a second discussion one- it'll be real useful to next years class, since they won't have to dig through a bunch of crap to find stats/acceptances.

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:54 am

hey nvanmeter and geomar,
Are you guys Putnam fellows?


nvanmeter, you stats looks awesome! Have not you taken any advanced stat mech or QFT? ( just out of curiousity, coz u said u were also interested in doing CMT)

SO far, I have seen only one person on this forum, (only VT ) who has exact same preparation and interest as I do and it is quite interesting to know that..

I am really curious to know if we can do theoretical biophysics thro CM in grad school. Does anybody here know about this option? appreciate any info. Tnoviell, you are in biophysics, would you mind sharing your experience?
I HAVE NOT TAKEN ANY BIOLOGY OR CHEMISTRY CLASSES IN MY COLLEGE. I did bio and chem in my 11 th and 12 th grade which covers pretty much the first year bio, chemistry and organic part I and II in the States. This does not mean I have the background but just to let you know that I know how bio and chem are like.
I am talking about Prof. Kardar's like research in biophysics where he uses stat mech and all hardcore math. I am assuming that it is possible to take some classes in Biology and chem in grad school and do research in theoretical biophysics.

I will appreciate any info from you guys.
Thanks.

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dlenmn
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Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:17 pm

I like this project. However, the dataset seems a little skewed towards people with 990s, so I've posted there to try and even things out a little...

schandre
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Postby schandre » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:03 pm

Nice initiative quizivex.
I just changed a bit the profile sheet to account for a few particularities of international students and the fact that I already have a graduate (MS) degree.

Every profile here is so unique I don't think we'll find someone with a profile so similar to ours that we can assume our chances based on someone else's admission/rejection result. It's good to know who is the "competition", though.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:31 pm

@ schandre

I just changed a bit the profile sheet to account for a few particularities of international students and the fact that I already have a graduate (MS) degree.


Actually, right before I read this post, I saw your profile and added a space for the TOEFL score in the template 8)

@ dlenmn

Thanks for posting... Guess what... I was walking down the street today in my filthy slum and thought to myself, "That new building really ruined the symmetry." Know what I mean? :wink:

@ geomar

Yeah, to expand on your comment, I agree, it's hard to believe how people can accomplish so much as an undergrad. I mean basically we're taking general physics, basic math and core classes freshman year. And yet by the time we apply to grad school 2.5 years later, we're supposed to publish several pieces of original work in modern physics? And if you apply for the goldwater scholarship, where individual research with publications is mandatory, you have to get it all done by early Sophomore or Junior year. Unless you have a head start coming into college, or are remarkably gifted, it seems impossible. Though maybe some profs are very good undergrad mentors and can help guide them to success better than some I've encountered.
Last edited by quizivex on Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dlenmn
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Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:58 pm

@ quizivex

It's doubly weird for me because it mostly went up when I wasn't around. The symmetry destruction doesn't annoy me as much as Comcast itself does...

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:21 pm

Every profile here is so unique I don't think we'll find someone with a profile so similar to ours that we can assume our chances based on someone else's admission/rejection result. It's good to know who is the "competition", though.


I agree we can't go as far as to estimate our chances, but we'll at least be able to figure out the overall trends. We'll all be finding out around the same time anyway... I just think this will be especially useful for future classes. Students from around the world as early as freshman year can get a pretty good idea what they need to do the next three years. As for competition... I hope everyone here gets into where they want, as long as they don't take my spot :wink:.

For us, as long as we're able to get a large, diverse group of people to post their profiles, we may finally shed some light on the enigmatic recurring questions we've all been asking for so long. How important is your undergrad school? Do you need publications? How much does the GRE matter? Does it help if your undergrad research reflects your graduate research interest? How much does it help being female? Is it much harder to get in for theory or small experimental fields?

While the countless discussions of these topics over the months/years has been interesting and sometimes fun, we never got close to an answer because you'd get different people taking every possible viewpoint, each giving convincing evidence and insisting their way is how it works, and we'd get no closer to figuring it all out.

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fermiboy
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Postby fermiboy » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:24 pm

I will post my info as soon as I hear back from some programs. I am afraid (probably paranoid) of compromising my identity by revealing too much, and grad committees might be reading this board.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:27 pm

I understand, I feel the same way, fermiboy.

But for the rest of you, DON'T hesitate to post your information, the committees are already looking at it anyway. Unless you've posted some risque, controversial comments on this forum (like I have :wink: ), you have nothing to worry about!!!!!

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:29 pm

@ geomar
the research years in quantum optics theory have been extrapolated and will be completed when i graduate, so 1+3=4 (they never intersected).

@RG
no the only grad-level class i ever took was a year (of which i'm currently in the second semester) of non-relativistic quantum using sakurai and merzbacher. i really wish i had the opportunity to see QFT as an undergrad though. i sat in on a grad quantum optics course where they at least quantized the electromagnetic field in a box and then took a limit...but nothing past that. and no i never made it to that really top ranking of the putnam people...i always seem to answer like 3 or 4 correct instead of the like 8 or 9 correct that some people can...those dudes must be really quick.

schandre
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Postby schandre » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:27 pm

I am afraid (probably paranoid) of compromising my identity by revealing too much, and grad committees might be reading this board.


If I were you I'd be checking for any suspect cars or people near your house/apartment. Also, don't use phones for the next couple of weeks and look out for strangers engaging random talks with you on the streets: may be a disguised grad school interviewer. :lol:

Actually, I'm a bit paranoid too. But I gave myself away such a long time ago that, if they are actually reading this board, there is no hope for me to try to hide my identity.

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dlenmn
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Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:45 pm

quizivex, are you planning to post your profile once the "fun" is over?

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:01 pm

Yep, I'll definitely post it by March 15, but I'll do so earlier if I get admitted to one of my favorites...

VT
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Postby VT » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:03 pm

so what is your favorite quizivex.You are too much of a mystery.
Last edited by VT on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:08 pm

I've never made a top ranking either. I think I am in the same boat as nvanmeter - I was in the top 200 but didn't make honorable mention (never bothered to ask my professor my actual score). I never took it too seriously as I believe I wasn't in the top 10 scorers at my school.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:56 pm

@ VT

I don't want to reveal too much info... so I'll just drop some hints... my favorite school begins with a P and ends with an N.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about any admissions spies at my school... considering the neighborhood I'm in, they would be very easy to spot, hehe.


By the way, all of you guys interested in medical physics, biophysics, chemophysics, astro etc... are encouraged to post your info on the 2008 profile page too :P

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:40 pm

I also just got a dose of the willies and took my complete profile down. I won't mind if people on this forum know my stats - most regulars probably know them. But I'd prefer they not be accessible on 1 single page until I hear from all my schools.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:27 pm

Oh nooo Geomar?!?!?

What are you worried about?

I'm really frustrated with myself for acting concerned about secrecy... it looks like I've made everyone paraniod...

So my dream of initiating the ultimate profile database looks bleak... nobody wants to post anymore. This time of year everyone's on the forum everyday, and yet I started the thread a whole day ago and we only have 8 (now 7) profiles :(

Just read some of the comments I've posted over the past year...I've had a horrendous undergrad experience, it was just soooo sickeningly bad, and part of it is reflected in my posts. Do you think I'd want people at my school or (less likely) admissions committees reading some of my opinions, stories and rants, and jumping to improper conclusions about my personality? I think I have a legitimate reason to withhold my stats for now.

I did a quick glance of your posts, geomar, fermiboy, and I can't understand what you're worried about... I'm not trying to force you to post them back, I will not to bring this up again, but I'm really curious what your concern is.
Last edited by quizivex on Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:32 pm

Eh, its not that - I guess I am just superstitious or something. For some reason, I just felt better if I didn't have it posted.

I will for sure post my information after I have heard from everyone - hopefully helping make your thread a very valuable resource to the next years class.

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fermiboy
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Postby fermiboy » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:59 pm

I guess the one thing I'm worried about is that some schools had me list the other schools I applied to. If I list my schools, then I think my name could be linked to my app. I promise I'll post my stats once I get accepted somewhere, anywhere.

VT
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Postby VT » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:25 pm

hhahahahaha, you guys are funny.

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dlenmn
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Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:40 pm

I think that gcensr has the right idea. If you plan to put up a profile, just not yet, post that to the profiles page and then edit it when the time comes. That'll at least show everyone that there's interest in the thread, and hopefully more people will post.

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:55 pm

Nobody has the right idea!!

i do not understand why all of us are doing this reservation!! What are we afraid of?

People, if you think you really like Physics and can do Physics then why are you afraid of outsiders reading your " internet forum post" and jinxing your chances of getting admission into a place u DESERVE.

*** those admissions committees who would judge you based on your "INTERNET FORUM DISCUSSION" ( see my example below to understand why I say this)

i do not eve know if you guys are REAL PEOPLE. There might be some computer genious out there who had programed his/her computer to type all these shitty discussions on the forum. I mean common, don be so kid!!


Here is an example:
DOES A PROFESSOR EVER CARE WHETHER YOUR ANSWER ON THE SCRATCH PAPER IS CORRECT OR NOT? There is always a right place to put down your right answer( meaning your true self) and there you should not make a mistake and we already did this on our SOP!
Internet forum is like a scratch paper where you along with other people work together to CONSTRUCT a CORRECT PROOF OR A SOLUTION. No body judges you for things like grad admissions based on your discussion on this forum or anywhere.

Internet forum is just for fun. It is for sharing of information and things like that! WE DO NOT MAKE LIFE CHANGING DECISIONS BASED on what people say on this forum( at least I will not. It is not that I do not trust you people, but I want to talk to and hear from REAL people before I make any BIG or small decisions)
TC
Last edited by cancelled20080417 on Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dlenmn
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Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:08 pm

I aint fraid o nuthin, so I posted. Where's yours RG? Show us what you're made of...

drken
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Postby drken » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:34 pm

i wasn't planning on posting anything until i had heard back from somewhere, but i sort of found all of this paranoia pretty absurd, so i just went ahead and put up my scores and such. if anyone seriously believes that legitimate professors (especially ones who are on admissions committees and are thus extremely busy) have the free time to look at websites like this, you must be off your rocker.

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dlenmn
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Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:37 pm

@ drken

Hells yeah

*virtual fist pound*

Maxwells_Demon
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Postby Maxwells_Demon » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:47 pm

Hi,

For some of the applicants on the list, I've noticed there is a 900+ range on the physics GRE score. I'm curious: for those of you who did get 900+ (congrats!), did you need to practice from the 4 practice exams from ETS? just curious. (and if so, did it help you reach that score?)

any help would be great. thanks everyone, and good luck.
-Maxwell's Demon

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fermiboy
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Postby fermiboy » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:48 pm

You guys are right, I am being paranoid. I'll post my stuff a little later...

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:06 am

fermiboy, are you going to post ur stat ever?

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:27 am

I think the whole Physics GRE should be changed in such a way that we would have 10 questions to answer in 3 hours time. Two of them should be std problems meaning easy problems for a std physics majors, ofcourse not just a plug and chug! 2 little difficult, 2 diffcult, 2 very difficult and 2 the most difficult problems. ETS should then send out the solution book that we use to solve these problems to grad schools along with our score.
There shud be a national curriculum board that would set up a std curriculum in undergrad Physics which shud then require all accrediated colleges and universities ( 2, yrs, 4 yrs , or 10 yrs instittutions) to adhere with that curriculum
Answering two questions correctly would be like 700 in PGRE, 4 would be 800, and anything above 6 or 7 would be 900 score range.


All the ten questions should be very fundamental and important in Physics. It should have some involved calculation, small trick here and there in those calculation. and require good amount of knowledge in Physics NOT just Math, or plug and chug. It is also important that each of these questions have alternative solutions.( this way we can compare students in 700, 800 and 900 range by going through their solution book and the method they use to solve those problems)
After coming out of the exam hall, we, test takers will at least feel that we did something creative or a small research project inside the test center even if we could answer the first two questions, which is lot better than answering 40 questions in present PGRE which is no more than just a plug and chug.



rant over!

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:49 am

Maxwell, I'm pretty sure every single person who posts to this board studied the 4 practice tests extensively.

geomar
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Postby geomar » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:10 am

I wouldn't mind that kind of test, I think I tend to do better on really tough tests (sounds like most people in this forum think so too) - but I bet it would be impossible for a few reasons

1) how to standardize it - partial credit? with only 10 questions and 2 realistically solvable for over 50% of the people who take the test, it would be tough to differentiate between test takers.

2) Scores would vary really widely for a single person based on the composition of the first 4 questions (is it material they are strong in? have they not taken quantum and got a QM question?). People who haven't completely Quantum or statmech would be furious, since its pretty hard to self teach these subjects at a level to solve involved problems. If we throw this out, we are now back to tests with classical mech, and E&M problems - booooorrrriiiing...who cares if you know freshman physics.

3) Can you imagine the amount of people complaining about the time constraints? How about if they only solved 2 problems?

But hey, I'm all for hard tests. Why else would I take the putnam every year?

Lastly, I think its pretty funny that by a few of us not putting up profiles, even more people put profiles up (who weren't planning to do so until later) just to prove us paranoid! ... It made the thread even more complete!

Maxwell: Yes, the materials I used were the 4 practice tests - I based my review on the questions that came up in them. The week before the GRE, I did this (roughly) : took a practice test under testing conditions, then reviewed the questions I missed/didn't know for sure and looked up the material I missed/didn't know in my old physics texts. Then the last day before the test, i re-reviewed all the questions I missed/was unsure on to make sure I knew solutions and general ideas.
I actually only took 3 under test taking conditions, the first test i just went through in a couple hours to get a feel for what questions were like. I still reviewed material from it.
Also, any general thing that popped into my head that I couldn't quite remember derivations/formulas, etc. I looked up.
If you are taking the test and have not had a formal class in a subject area: eg. statmech, QM, (very) intro solid state, etc. It might do you good to try to read a book/do problems on this area before getting to taking (at least a couple of) the tests under testing conditions. Hope that helps.

And now back to discussions...

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:19 am

I would say that you guys should *** off the school with damn committee, which they put you guys down because of your


posts...

i wasn't planning on posting anything until i had heard back from somewhere, but i sort of found all of this paranoia pretty absurd, so i just went ahead and put up my scores and such.

@ drken
ummm, just saw your profile... and I think even if you sent a committee a personal video recording of you telling them to *** off... they'd still want you.

@ zxcv
Wow 3 REUs in different fields, pretty neat!

@ RG
Wow perfect on the math gre, good thing u didn't get laid before that.



Thanks everyone for posting/planning to post stats!

And I think the 10 question idea on the GRE just can't happen. We need the test to comprehensively cover all of undergrad physics without hitting any subjects too hard or too lightly, or punishing a student too hard if there's a random handful of problems he just can't do... I'd imagine if a student took this 10 question test 5 times, his scores would vary drastically more than if he took the GRE 5 times.

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:14 am

There shud be a national curriculum board that would set up a std curriculum for undergrad Physics and it shud require all accrediated colleges and universities ( 2, yrs, 4 yrs , or 10 yrs instittutions) to adhere with that curriculum




Idon think many of you care reading that sentence.


This standarization of curriculum will allow every one from all kind of schools to be prepared for the exam. They don have to miss QM or Stat mech or any other subjects.

marten
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Postby marten » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:54 pm

dlenmn:

(School selection algorithm: Post large US map on wall. Aim Shotgun at Philadelphia. Fire. Apply to all schools that have been hit.)


Haha, that's what I did too... Except for rogue ricochet that went off deep into the midwest...

Marten

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:29 pm

just got three good news in ONE freaking DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I am just about to BLAST and now you all know what I am planning to DO, right?

good luck to every one!

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:54 pm

WOW RG, congrats, that's awesome!!!

To feel nervous and jittery one day and get swamped with acceptance letters the next... sweet!!

I just hope RG doesn't injure himself during his celebrations...

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:50 pm

congrats RG! was cornell your first choice? and i think we have the same plan...i've been obsessively working out to keep my mind off admissions and of course get ready for spring break...

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:55 pm

So I found out today that my transcript was missing at one of my schools. I checked with the records department at my school and found out that the transcript I requested in mid december was mailed January 22nd. :evil: :shock: :evil: That's over a month. I'm pissed.

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:58 pm

oh yeah and i think we have conclusive evidence now that admissions committees do not read our posts....RG was accepted

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:01 pm

agreed. all the paranoids should now post their profiles.

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:15 pm

:shock:

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:24 pm

people might want to check the UCSB status button on their application website...i have yet to get an email or a snail mail notification but upon randomly checking it, i found out i was admitted.




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